With the government this week revealing their plans to introduce two-year degrees on a larger scale across the UK, as some do already exist in areas such as finance and business, many universities and students are questioning the point of it all.
University minister Jo Johnson has stressed this week the importance of introducing two-year courses, mainly for financial reasons, but universities are still displaying their anger at the plans, commenting on the wide range of difficulties that come with offering these new degrees.
Firstly, the fee cap would be lifted for these degrees, meaning they will cost an average of around £13,000, with the main money saving features being in a reduced living cost, as accommodation needs to only be paid for two years.
However, they are still expensive to run. The first issue is that the course will be taught outside of the university academic year, meaning that tutors will likely expect to be paid more for working during what is usually considered to be their holiday. On top of this most universities will simply have to hire more staff to fill the demand for out of term teaching.
There is also the fact that buildings will be needed, as well as specialist buildings such as labs for science based modules. This can be tricky during the holidays as many buildings will be undergoing renovation.
Accelerated degrees also don’t really rely on exams, but focus on coursework, which of course needs a quick and reliable turn over, quite a stretch during the holidays.
There is also the question as to whether offering a two-year degree will mean that intellectual, academic journeys are effectively cut short.
For degrees that are based on the gradual development of learning skills, the learning process may likely suffer from being cut short.
There is also the fact that students may miss out on work experience, with many second-year students undertaking a placement throughout the summer, yet with two-year degree students expected to attend university in the summer, there will be little time for work experience, which is arguably invaluable for future employment.
Overall, will the two-year degrees simply offer a rather compromised student experience? Will students be losing out?
Essentially, they will be paying a much higher fee each year, for facilities that they may not have the time to fully appreciate.
Features such as gyms, libraries, research, technologies- even transport discounts!
They will also be on a very intense communication basis with their tutor, but this means they miss out on informal interaction with other staff who may be organising workshops or visits.
Finally, what will happen if a student is seen to fail a very important section of their course, will the whole year have to be retaken anyway, and how will the funding for this be sorted, if people are seen to be rushing their degree, it is arguable that there is more chance of people running into difficulty.
If universities are to accept two-year degrees on a national scale, it will likely be up to the individual institution as to how they decide to run the course and manage the funding. As long as the relevant information is supplied to expectant students, they will have to make the decision from there.